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by Nick Dinicola

29 Jul 2016


Last week I wrote about the story content of Spirits of Xanadu. This week I want to write about its graphics, those terrible graphics that “look like a student project from the early 90s”. That description still holds true, but what’s impressive about this virtual world of simple geometric shapes is how much emotion and style it wrings out of such low fidelity graphics. It might not showcase much detail, but it know how to frame a scene, and in this case, composition is more important than detail.

There are two scenes in particular that I want to call out. Both can kind of be considered spoilers, but one can definitely be considered a spoiler, so I recommend that you play the game first before reading on. It’s only a few hours long and only $10.00 on Steam. With that said…

by Nick Dinicola

22 Jul 2016


Spirits of Xanadu has some terrible graphics. Let’s just get that out of the way first.

From the robots and guns made out of basic 3D shapes to the flat texture-less walls of the ship, the game looks like a student project from the early 90’s. It certainly lacks a lot of visual flair, but I’m telling you about it now because it still manages to do a lot with the very little it has.

by Nick Dinicola

15 Jul 2016


Mirror’s Edge is a racing game. Sure, you may be controlling a person, not a car, and you may be jumping across rooftops like a platformer, but neither the first-person shooter nor the platformer fully capture the ethos of Mirror’s Edge. It’s a first-person game unconcerned with shooting and a jumping game that’s unconcerned with jumping. Yes, you’ll jump a lot, but that’s not the really the point of it all. The point of it… is speed. Getting up to speed. Maintaining speed. Improving yourself to increase your speed. Everything about the game eventually feeds back into that singular idea.

by Nick Dinicola

8 Jul 2016


I like a lot of mobile games. I’ve become the mobile-game guy among my friends and at Moving Pixels, but even I have my prejudices: I hate match-three mobile games.

I hate how they’re always timed, rushing to you make a match so that you can never really think about or plan your actions. I hate how cluttered they are, with so many different symbols in play on a little grid that it becomes hard to find a match. My eyes just glaze over the mess of icons until time runs out, and I fail at whatever I was trying to do. I hate how abusive they often are. The issues I mentioned before abuse my time and efforts, while microtransactions for special items abuse my wallet. Sometimes these two things work together, like when a level becomes impossible to beat unless you pay for point-boosting items. Even the supposedly great games like You Must Build A Boat just get on my nerves .

by Nick Dinicola

1 Jul 2016


I totally dismissed Doom before it came out. I took one look at it during Bethesda’s E3 press conference and knew it would be a disaster of a game. I was, perhaps, a bit presumptuous. As it turns out, Doom is a better game than it logically has any right to be, and one of the ways in which it’s so surprisingly, shockingly good is in its characterization of the so-called “Doom Gu,,” the faceless, voiceless, hyper-violent hero of the game. What’s amazing is that he’s still a faceless, voiceless, hyper-violent hero, but not in the bland, generic way that defined early shooters. He’s been given just enough background and a personality to elevate him from “generic” to “iconic”.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Bad Graphics Are Still Impressive in ‘Spirits of Xanadu’

// Moving Pixels

"Spirits of Xanadu wrings emotion and style out of its low fidelity graphics.

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